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Feed-in tariffs

Feed-in tariff cuts

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Feed-in tariff cuts

Find out about the closure of the feed-in tariff, as well as previous payment rate cuts and whether it's still worth investing in solar panels.

The feed-in tariff (FIT) provided payments to owners of electricity-generating renewable energy technologies from 2010 to 2019. 

The initial FIT rates were generous, and the uptake of solar panels was faster than expected. As a result, the government decided that the rates for solar PV had to be cut to control costs. 

At the end of March 2019, the FIT scheme was closed to new applicants.

Read on to find out more about the feed-in tariff closure and cuts, including how it will affect you if you already have solar panels and whether it's still worth investing in solar panels. Click on the question below to jump to its answer:

Does the FIT scheme closure affect me? 

If you already have solar PV, or another renewable electricity generation technology at home, and receive the feed-in tariff, then your payments won't be affected. You'll continue to receive your payments at the rate you signed up to. They are payable for 20 years. 

However, new applicants can't sign up to the feed-in tariff. The closure date was 31 March 2019. To be eligible, you would have to have had your solar panels installed, possess a microgeneration certificate from your installer, and have applied to your chosen FIT licensee by 31 March.

How much has the FIT been cut? 

The FIT was cut for new installations from 1 January 2016. Since then, the rates for new installations decreased every three months until the scheme closed.

Systems installed before the FIT was cut aren't affected.

Find out how this affects what you get paid in our guide to feed-in tariff earnings and savings.

Are solar panels still a worthwhile investment? 

Without the feed-in tariff, it will take longer for your solar panels to pay for themselves through savings on your electricity bill. This makes solar PV a long-term investment, as you'll only make a profit once the system has paid for itself. 

However, if installation costs continue to fall and you pay less for your system, and/or if electricity prices continue to rise, the payback period will shorten. 

Putting the £5,000 to £8,000 typical solar panel cost into an Isa for the same amount of time might lead to a higher annual rate of return. 

Find out more in our guide to solar PV as an investment.  

If your home is particularly energy inefficient, it's worth bringing it up to an Energy Performance Certificate level to D or above. 

I already have solar panels. Does this affect me? 

No. Solar PV systems that are already registered for the old FIT rates aren't affected. Any change to the rates only affects new installations. 

However, do make sure you're maximising your profit from your panels - read our expert advice on how to make the most of your solar panels.

What about wind turbines and solar water heating? 

Wind turbines, hydroelectric and micro-combined heat and power systems were all eligible for the feed-in tariff and their rates were also cut - but to a lesser extent. We've pulled together the latest rates for all eligible technologies in an easy-to-read table - feed-in tariff rates.

Solar thermal panels - which produce hot water rather than electricity - come under a separate government scheme that's designed to reward households for generating their own heat. Click here to find out more about the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

Where can I find out more?

If you are unsure about your options or have any further questions, contact the Energy Saving Trust advice line on 0300 123 1234.

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